The Immune System and Food Allergies – Immune System Example

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"The Immune System and Food Allergies" is a controversial example of a paper on the immune system.   Food allergies have their history rooted from the period of Hippocrates when he reached a conclusion about the sensitivity related to milk with the aspect of allergies. Allergic reactions to foods can range in severities from simple allergic reactions to those turning out to be fatal. According to the survey of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, allergies serve to be the reason for 30,000 patient reports to the casualty department, and on an average 20 percent of Americans suffer from this problem.

Allergies can result due to the action of mainly two immunoglobulins which include IgE and IgG. The immediate reaction has always been associated IgE whereas the delayed reaction has been considered to occur due to the IgG-mediated allergic reaction. But recent research has put forward new evidence concerning the role of IgG4. It has been discovered that IgG4 can serve to play a role in preventing and reducing the outcome of these food allergies. Immediate allergic reactions in the body are referred to as immediate hypersensitivity reaction type I.

These result due to the binding of the antigens of allergy-causing foods which bind to the IgE antibodies. These antibodies are present in the mast cells and a cascade of reactions ensues which includes the release of histamine and chemotactic factors. The resulting reaction occurs according to the site where this antigen-antibody reaction results and hence symptoms occur accordingly. IgG on the other hand is believed to result in reactions which are known as delayed hypersensitivity reactions and the course of action of this reaction does not occur immediately.

This has been proven by certain laboratory tests which shows raised IgG levels in some patients. It has been researched that IgG is a type of IgG4. An interesting aspect of this research explains that IgG-mediated allergic reactions could be treated by giving anti-IgG. On the other hand, the immediate hypersensitivity resulting from Ig E could be reduced by the action of IgG4. In patients with mild or no effects of allergies, it was seen that IgE was present in the blood but even higher quantities of IgG4 were present in the blood.

The activity of IgG4 was hence considered to prevent antigen-binding with the IgE antibody resulting in a lower or no allergic response in the patient. Another important aspect with relation to food allergies was that these responses were invoked mainly in the intestinal barrier and the allergens were not able to enter into the circulation. Thus it was found out that the direct injection of the allergen into the bloodstream intradermally could provide a boost to the systemic immune system and it was found that it resulted in raising the levels of the antibodies against IgG, high levels of IgG4 as well as a reduction in the allergic response and the factors resulting in that lead to these allergies.

Trials were conducted to uphold these results. This aspect could prove to be very beneficial for the people who suffer from food allergies because it is a condition that persists for the entire life of a person. The rate of the patients reporting to the emergencies and the number of patients who suffer from this condition proves that allergies constitute to be a major health problem but despite this much research concerning curing this ailment has not been done.

This condition affects the major systems of the body ranging from the nervous system, the cardiovascular, and respiratory symptoms to mild dermal reactions. The best possible cure devised till now is the withdrawal of the food substance that results in the allergic response and the symptoms associated with it. Much research concerning the aspect of the role of the IgG antibodies as well as Ig4 is required to reach a definitive conclusion concerning the benefits that it might endow on these patients for whom slight inaccuracies in diet can prove to be fatal in the severe cases.

References

Food Allergies: Reducing the Risks. Silver Spring, Md.: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2009. Internet resource. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM170952.pdf

Food Antibody Assessment . Genova Diagnostics, 2006. Retrieved from http://www.genovadiagnostics.com/files/profile_assets/referenced_materials/Antibody_AppGuide.pdf

Suen, R.M. & Gordon S. A critical review of IgG Immunoglobulins and Food Allergy-Implications in Systemic Health. 2003U.S. Bio Tek Laboratories.

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